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Robbie G ready to open for Nelly

Guelph-born rapper opens for Nelly at Soo Blaster on March 20
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Robbie G photo
Rapper Robbie G. Photo provided

It may have been one of the most complete 180-degree turns in music history. A youngster named Robert Gruenbauer gets caught dealing drugs, does jail time for it, gathers his thoughts, and resolves to take on the world of rap.

That Guelph-born youngster is now a man named Robbie G, and his rap is aimed squarely at fans as he opens for the legendary Nelly on his All Work, No Play Tour, certifiably, a hip-hopper’s dream come true.

“It was a jump-up-and-down-and-scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs moment!" Robbie G emphatically told Glenn Wilkins of BarrieToday, a sister site of SooToday. “I've been a fan of Nelly for years and being able to share the same stage with him is a blessing”

Geographically, the tour with Nelly is a long way from Guelph; in the artistic soul, it’s just down the road.

“I think with the Internet now it doesn't matter so much where you're from but how deep down the rabbit hole on YouTube you want to go."

Introduced to the form at age 12, “I started rapping around 16 and I would say I picked up the skills by working with my peers and then traveling to places like Toronto early on in my career to participate in shows and watch how the emcees rocked the mic.”

What G values most about Nelly is “his versatility in music, his ability to crossover into different genres and still remain true to himself. He's achieved what few have which is superstar status and I (plan to) work hard to eventually be in his position.”

One of Robbie’s breakthrough albums is Fire, which contained a particularly personal track.

“I wrote a tribute called When I See You – to honour the life of my stepmother who passed away from cancer – with a vocalist from Peterborough, Missy Knott, who had also lost her father to cancer. It's the most personal song on the album and was the most difficult to record trying to hold back tears as I rapped.“

Another cut making the rounds nationally is Do What You Do, which has taken on a life of its own, it seems.

“We shot a video for it in Kelowna, B.C. and in my opinion it's my best video out!”

Robbie G shares the stage with Nelly on the All Work, No Play Tour, Tuesday, March 20 at Soo Blaster. Doors open at 8 p.m., show starts at 9. To learn more, click here.